A short video doing the rounds on social media shows former vice-president Kalonzo Musyoka and former Mombasa senator Omar Hasan changing words during one of the meetings of the National Dialogue Committee. Mr. Musyoka appears to be trying to shut down whatever point Mr. Hasan is making, all the while the Governor of Embu is trying, without success, to get the two of them to put a stock in it.
Kenya's constitutional discourse reflects the ego-driven war of words between Mr. Musyoka and Mr. Hasan. Little of the top-down constitutional prescriptions by the political elites of our communities has anything to do with what the peoples of Kenya want. Mr. Musyoka and Mr. Hasan (and the rest of the National Dialogue Committee) have learnt nothing from the fiasco that was the Building Bridges Initiative.
What I found interesting in the video is the dismissive and contemptuous tone the two men have for each other. It s clear Mr. Musyoka thinks that Mr. Hasan is childish and ungrateful, while Mr. Hasan thinks Mr. Musyoka is a delusional over-the-political-hill old man. They were thinking only of the things that affected them. The ostensible reason for the National Dialogue Committee - constitutional amendments for the benefit of Kenyans - was given short shrift at the altar of their egos. It didn't occur to them that neither of them came out smelling of roses. Instead, Kenyans were reminded once more that Kenya's politicians are driven only by selfish self interest, and not the public good.
It has been decades since Kenya even had the semblance of an intelligent political class. Though it has al2ways been venal and corrupt, it didn't allow its venality and corruption to prevent it from doing some good, every now and then. But the past fifteen years, as the political class has been divorced from the people it is supposed to represent, have witnessed the slow and inexorable decline in anything beneficial to the people and the elevation of the interests of the cabal sitting in Government at the expense of sensible public policy.
Today, only the Kenyans at the top can say with genuine pride that their lives have improved. Instead, personal income taxes have gone up. Regressive indirect taxes have gone up. Household incomes have crashed. The quality of public services is in the toilet. Life is hard and is made harder by political burdens Kenyans neither want nor need. Life would be immeasurably improved if Messrs. Musyoka, Hasan and their ilk should go somewhere far away and stayed there until the end of time. But that is not a realistic option, is it?